Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pineapple Dr. Pepper Beans

I recently spent a few days at a training conference up at "The Homestead" in Midway, Utah. Located in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, The Homestead has an interesting geological feature: a crater with a hot spring that's open to the public for swimming. While I only waded my toes, others hopped in for a soak.
This is a side view of the crater.
 It seemed like more crocus were opening every day.
 Deer were right at home on the grounds. A co-worker said they saw a mountain lion. (Yikes!)
Out of the neat things I got to see, one thing stood apart--I had never seen so many Dutch ovens going at once. At the end of the conference my boss Bryce (and his cooking team) cooked dinner not just for the staff, but for all of the conference go-ers.
One of the things they made for us was sweet and savory baked beans. Here's the recipe:

Pineapple Dr. Pepper Beans
1/2 lb. smoked bacon; sliced
1/2 c tomato paste
1 large yellow onion; diced
1/2 lb. summer sausage; sliced
2 bell peppers; diced
1 c brown sugar
1 c chopped mushrooms
1 c medium Pace Picante’ Sauce
4 cloves garlic; minced
(1) 16 oz. can pineapple tidbits; drained
(2) 28 oz. cans Pork & Beans
1 can Dr. Pepper
2 tomatoes; diced

Heat a 12" Dutch oven using 18-20 briquettes bottom until oven is hot. Slice bacon into 1/2" strips then fry in preheated oven until crisp. Add onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and garlic and continue cooking until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Reduce briquettes on bottom to 12-14. Cover and simmer 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes. Serves: 10-12

Recipe Source: Bryce Swanson (Thanks Bryce!)



Saturday, April 16, 2011

Frozen Fruit Smoothies

A couple of years ago I had an eye opening moment. A co-worker had moved to China and was sharing the most amazing photos of her life overseas. I literally had an a-ha (that might be pretty obvious to you) that beauty is everywhere. I stepped outside and took photos of early spring which helped me appreciate the beauty in my neck-of-the woods!

This morning when I headed outside with my camera, it was like coming home to find little bits of spring awakening. After such wrenching stories in the news over the past few months, these little bits of nature are busy doing what they do. (The pink blossom is an apple blossom. This is the first year the apple tree will be producing apples. Quite an accomplishment for the little espalier treeYou go tree!)
There's a green glow of newly un-flolded leaves to the trees and the hillsides are fresh and spring-green. The leaves above are from a lilac bush. The purple flowers are sweet little hyacinths. Have you ever caught the scent of a hyacinth? They're a little headier than honeysuckle. In Utah hyacinths are one of the earliest blooming flowers.
Yesterday I took a leap and made a smoothie with oatmeal in it. I was thinking "This is gonna be gross." but decided to try it because it was bound to be "healthful" right? It turned out that my family and I both liked the smoothie and it was easy to make (perfect for when you're in a hurry).
Frozen Fruit Smoothie
1 ripe banana
1 C frozen fruit (mango, 
blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries)
2 heaped T plain yogurt (I used some lemon yogurt I had on hand)
1/4 C quick cook oats (not instant)
1 C 1% milk, soy milk, or apple juice
5 ice cubes

Combine ingredients and blend well. I blended it on different speeds to make sure the oatmeal was pureed into wee little bits, too small to detect. If it's too thick for your taste just add a little milk and blend it in. Get more ideas and tips for this smoothie on Jamie's website. (Thank you Jamie!)

Serves: 2

Recipe Source: Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution: Frozen Fruit Smoothies
I poured the pretty-purple-goodness into a reusable travel mug and my breakfast was ready "to-go." Mmmm! The smoothie was sweeter than I would have imagined with no sugar, but also very light.

I hope you'll give these a try too! :)



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